UK Hoops is still dancing, and needs your support to make it to the Sweet 16 and the right to play their next 2 games in Rupp Arena! Fresh off a dominating win over UNC-Asheville, the Cats will take on a familiar foe in the form of the Oklahoma Sooners. The last time these squads tangoed was as part of last year's Paradise Jam Tournament in the Virgin Islands, where the Cats walked away with a W in overtime.
So what do we know about the Sooners? We know their head coach Sherri Coale is joining the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame this summer, celebrating her 19th year of success in Norman. Coale has led the Sooners to 16 straight NCAA tournament appearances, and has reached the Final Four three times in her tenure at OU.
In addition to a HOF Coach, the Sooners have a solid core of players who will provide the Cats all sorts of challenges. Kaylon Williams is the team's best scorer, averaging 12.5 ppg and hits a blistering 54% from the field. Next up is Peyton Little, who averages 10.9 ppg, hitting 39% from the field, 32% from three point range and nails 73% of her free throws. Last but not least is Vionise Pierre-Louis, who averages 9.4 ppg almost exclusively from the field, where she hits 60% of her attempts. Williams, Little and Pierre-Louis represent 47% of OU's overall offense, along with a full third of their steals, and 68% of their blocks.
How can the Cats walk out with the W Monday night?
- The UNC-Asheville game was one of the most dominating defensive performances we've seen from Kentucky all season. The Cats held the Bulldogs to a miserly 31 points, and allowed only 21% of their shots to register. Oklahoma is on a completely different level from Asheville, but that emphasis on defense will continue to be a critical element for the Cats in the post-season.
- Our starters, particularly Makayla Epps, need to get going early. Makayla had a great first half Saturday, and was noticeably improved from the down time between the end of the SEC tourney and the start of the NCAAs. We simply can't wait for them to get going in the second half, as by then we might be in too deep of a hole to catch up.
- The little things matter. Hit the bunnies, make free throws, no silly fouls.
- OU is going to be another defensive war, so effective ball management and smart shot selection are key.
Tipoff is at 6:30 EDT on ESPN2. For some ridiculous reason no doubt only logical to the NCAA, you can't just tune in to 630 WLAP to listen in so if you plan to hear Neil Price call the game, I'd recommend using the UK Gameday app.
Until tipoff, Cat fans - Go Big Blue!